MDE honors schools for closing gaps

djournal-education-newsBy Chris Kieffer

Daily Journal

Nearly a dozen Northeast Mississippi schools were among those honored by the state Department of Education on Friday for their success in closing achievement gaps.

The MDE’s “Champions of Change” ceremony recognized 57 schools in four categories, including 11 from the northeast region.

Tupelo’s Joyner Elementary was named a “High Progress School,” as were Baldwyn Elementary, Vardaman Elementary, Houston Upper Elementary and H.W. Byers Elementary.

The 23 schools to receive the honor demonstrated the greatest gains in closing achievement gaps.

Okolona High was a “Gold Ribbon School,” and Iuka Elementary and Booneville’s Anderson Elementary were each “High Performing Schools.” Gold Ribbon schools rapidly improved student performance. High Performing Schools closed achievement gaps and improved performance for three consecutive years.

Ashland High, Holly Springs High and Smithville High were all “Title 1 Distinguished Schools,” given to 20 schools for exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years.

The recognition is in conjunction with the federal Title I program, which provides funding to schools across the country for students at risk of failure or living near poverty.

Jackson’s Walton Elementary and South Forrest Attendance Center were named National Title 1 Distinguished Schools.

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com